Travel ban order will hurt, advocates for refugees say
WASHINGTON — Immigration and refugee advocates expressed disappointment Monday with the Supreme Court’s partial reinstatement of President Trump’s travel ban, saying even limited implementation could cause hardship to refugees and others seeking to travel to the United States from six affected Muslimmajority countries.
However, organizations taking part in the monthslong legal fight against the revised travel ban expressed hopes that the high court ultimately will reject the restrictions after arguments are heard in October.
And they welcomed what they described as an implicit rebuke of the White House’s assertion that Trump has unfettered powers to exclude arrivals based on purported national security concerns.
The initial rollout of the ban, days after Trump took office in January, caused pandemonium at airports across the U.S. and overseas as tens of thousands of visa holders arriving from seven affected countries were turned away without warning or detained.
After courts blocked that order, Trump issued a revised travel ban that took Iraq off the list.
A replay of January’s travel chaos was unlikely Monday because the court’s action will allow visa holders with “bona fide” ties to people or entities in the U.S. to enter, meaning students, employees and family members can still get in.
But refugee advocates said the court’s limited ruling, which the administration can move to implement on Thursday, could leave many would-be arrivals in limbo pending the finalizing of new vetting procedures.
The administration had originally said a threemonth travel ban was needed in part to review the checks to which would-be entrants are subjected.
David Miliband, president of the International Rescue Committee, said the partial reinstatement of the ban particularly threatens “vulnerable people waiting to come to the U.S.,” including those with urgent medical conditions.
The National Immigration Law Center, one of the groups that challenged the ban, said that as of this week, about 50,500 refugees from the six affected countries had been approved for travel and resettlement in the U.S. — all having already undergone intensive checks.
The Middle East Studies Assn., one the groups contesting the ban in the lower courts, said many students and academics were ensnared by the original order, and are still wary of leaving and then trying to reenter the United States.
Iran — along with Somalia, Sudan, Yemen, Syria and Libya — is one of the affected countries, and Southern California is home to a large Iranian American community that was hit hard by the original ban.
“The Trump administration’s new idea is to make it so hard on Iranians and Muslims to get a visa that visa officers will have the unrestricted discretion to reject visa applications,” said Shayan Modarres, legal counsel for the National Iranian American Council.
POUNEH BEHIN posts a sign at LAX during the initial rollout of the travel ban offering help to those affected. A replay of the travel chaos is unlikely.